The Monkey Forest at Trentham Gardens is a relatively new conservation and wildlife park, just south of Stoke on Trent, about a 40 minute drive from the Barn (although it could take longer in the rush hour).
Monkey Forest is set in 60 acres of natural woodland that forms part of the Trentham Gardens Estate and is home to two colonies of Barbary macaques.
What Is There To See And Do?
The Monkey Forest car park is shared with Trentham Gardens and is easily big enough to cope with huge numbers of visitors – best of all it’s free!
Once past the gates and off to the right, there’s a rather smart restaurant and shop building with plenty of outside seating and a small adventure playground.
There’s also a covered information area and a separate video screening area, detailing the conservation and habits of Barbary macaques.
To get into the monkey enclosure, you pass through a high double gate system, after which you are free to roam along the very well surfaced paths.
The first thing you’ll notice is just how many staff are available, stationed around the entire route.
The staff are great – so enthusiastic, knowledgeable, friendly and obviously passionate about the monkeys they look after.
This has to be one of the best features of Monkey Forest and one I haven’t experienced before at other parks – it made a good trip memorable and they should be really proud of themselves.
I have saved the best for last however – the Barbary macaques.
These wonderful creatures are allowed to roam wherever they like within the forest and yes, that does mean they walk right past you on the paths.
As a visitor, you’re asked to stay on the paths and to keep at least a metre or arms length away from the monkeys – they are wild animals after all.
Every hour, there’s a brief presentation from one of the park rangers at a feeding station, which is very well attended by a large number of monkeys, big and small!
The path through the forest forms a circuit which wends its way down through a valley – there are monkeys everywhere (and squirrels!) so don’t forget to look up into the trees.
A lap of the forest takes a leisurely half an hour and although fairly steep in places, should just about be passable in a wheelchair.
Is Monkey Forest Worth a Visit?
We decided to take the children late on a Sunday afternoon in early May and frankly, given the look of the weather, we weren’t expecting to have such a good time.
The kids absolutely loved it with Oscar providing a running commentary to his Flip video camera.
We arrived at just after 3pm as many visitors seemed to be leaving – this is a good tip I think if you want to have a quiet and relaxed time at any venue.
We did one “lap” of the forest with cameras and video snapping away and then a more leisurely second lap to take in the trees and the monkeys properly.
We were probably the last visitors out of the gate at 5pm and we’ll definitely be back in early June to see the new born babies and the wonderful rhododendrons and azaleas in full flower.
Monkey Forest Trentham Gardens